Updated: Oct 2, 2018
Warning: This isn't all PG!
Over the past few weeks, well, really a year or so with the Bill Cosby and Brock Turner cases, I have been told in one way or another that I AM a rapist. I am part of the major problem in this world where women do not feel safe enough to even walk by themselves. I have been attacked as another sexist pig who thinks women are nothing more than sexual objects. I have been told I don't understand the horror and pain of being a victim of sexual assault and harassment. I have been told my dick, which I was once so proud of, is the enemy. It can't be trusted. My mind, which I was even more proud of, is nothing more than a cesspool of rapey-rage. My charm and my wit, which I was always complimented for, are the very reason women cover themselves around me and are uncomfortable even to be in a crowded room especially with more men like me. I've learned this about myself. Social media has told me. It told me that EVERY woman on the planet is a survivor. It told me that ALL MEN are the savages. It told me that I am the backbone of rape culture in our country. I see it in the countless #metoo and #whyididntreport messages on my Twitter feed. I see it in the "All men are fucking dogs, pigs and assholes" posts on the other social media sites. I see it in the vicious responses to any male that questions the validity of a victim while not outright condemning to the pits of hell the accused. Damn, I didn't know I was part of the problem.
What an interesting thing all that is.
So as I sit drinking my coffee talking to, at present, six women on Facebook chat and two on text message, I wonder. I wonder why they confide in me if I am the enemy. I wonder why they call me when they are in trouble or in a struggle if my devious overly-sexual mind is uncontrollable in its savage desire to conquest that which is woman. I wonder if they have their keys pushed their hands when we walk together or a can of mace on standby "just-in-case" my devil decides to steal the sweet elixir of their innocence. I wonder if these mothers, wives, single women, and even rape survivors are really just "keeping the enemy closer" by being my friend. Before the last few weeks I wouldn't have wondered that. Before the last few weeks I would say that these ladies see me for me and not for someone else's good or bad. But now, I wonder because, for better or worse, I am a rapist.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I have NEVER raped anyone.
I don't need to rape anyone. But, with all the rage, that is what I have been labeled, oddly enough, without my consent. And here I am stuck in the middle of rapists and rape victims, sexual predators and prey, laws that ignore and people who have been ignored by the laws. Here I sit wondering how the hell do I get up out of this? Then it dawned on me that I have my own platform. I can blog about it and maybe someone will sit and read it. Maybe I can write something that is helpful not harmful. Maybe, just maybe, I can climb out of the muck of a label I, and the majority of others, did not earn. I can blog. That is what I will do. So let us talk about the difficult, shall we.
First, rape is a crime. IF a person is convicted of such a crime, that person should be punished and punished severely. If someone has been raped, they should not fear the police, the judicial system or their attackers again. That being said, just because someone says they were raped DOES NOT make the accused guilty no matter what his/her status in life is. Innocent until proven guilty is the only way we should demand our justice. Passion and emotion should never be a part of an investigation. No matter what, a victim and the accused both have rights. We should never forget that because, once we trample one's rights, then the rest will follow. Now, with that said, I feel a need to give a male's point of view that people are too riled up to listen to. Be it because of personal pain or history, or something similar involving someone close to them. I'm going to start with Brett Kavanaugh.
I don't know if Brett Kavanaugh is a rapist. I don't know if he got drunk and pulled out his dick around some girl at a frat party. I don't know if he was touchy and aggressive with his advances as a college student. I have no idea. What I do know is this: an allegation has been brought against him that is serious enough that it needs to be investigated thoroughly before a single vote is cast to put him on the highest court in our country. Yes, certain jobs demand that type of intensity. That being said, him being rich doesn't matter. Him being white doesn't matter. Him being a President Trump's appointee doesn't matter. Him being emotional doesn't matter. What matters is that he is a citizen of this country, and he is innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, people are jumping to "definitive answers" before ever hearing word-one about what is going on. We are piling on whichever side we are on to defend our points. I've seen Republican supporters commenting "this smear campaign by you pathetic liberals isn't working" and "why weren't you upset when rapist Bill was in office" and so on. On the other side, I've seen "another rich, white rapist is getting away with it" and "Republicans disgust me. They are all vile war-mongering white privileged racist, sexist, homophobic assholes." The problem is that when we get to this point no one is paying attention to "truth." They are just paying attention to what they think, hope and imagine the truth is at this point. I am going to be honest with the list of questions that instantly came to mind when I saw there was a first accuser and then subsequent one:
1. Why now? This seems like politics happening. Democrats are doing what the Republicans did to all of President Obama's nominees, it seems. Smells like the Benghazi nonsense.
2. Maybe she came forward because this dude is going to be appointed to the highest court in the land and she couldn't stand by any longer.
3. This is a President Trump appointee with his record of hiring criminals, liars and despicable human beings. I wouldn't be surprised. This is very true.
4. Another famous person is being accused of rape. I wonder when she will settle out of court for a civil suit. (Note: As a man, I have seen many athletes accused of sexual assault or misconduct only to have the "victim" settle for money. I honestly automatically think it's a money grab when a celebrity gets accused. That isn't fair to REAL victims but it is what it has become over the past 30 years. Too many false allegations in my memory.)
5. Watch, there will be 2 or 3 more people coming out with some story, too. I wonder how in-depth the defense will be able to go into the allegations.
6. I don't think he survives this shit.
Those were my thoughts. Honest first thoughts when I saw this happening. If you noticed #4 you can see that history, as I have seen it, taints my initial response to rape/assault allegations. We all have our history that taints our initial point of view. But if this guy was named Sean, Jr. or Trae, I would damn sure want them to be proven guilty before they were labeled rapist and demons and vile creatures and perverts and so-on and so-on. For the record those are my sons. How many of you would change your tune if it was YOUR SON being accused? Would you want the victim's history to be known? Would you want to know if she (or he) had been lying or under the influence or was doing nothing the next day as if nothing happened? Would you demand that she (or he) have to testify to what your son did or didn't do? That's the hard part. How do we respect the victim and not re-victimize her (or him) while giving the accused a fair trial? Kavanaugh is not on trial but he is under serious scrutiny as he should if he is going to sit on the bench. Every justice should have to answer for his/her record. In any case, that is the Kavanaugh thing to which I only say, hear all the facts and let the damn investigation by the FBI (not some limited one, mind you) be conducted before we condemn him for this. (Condemn away on his judicial records.)
Now I mentioned my boys a minute ago and I want to help women who think that men don't have to think about rape. I should probably backstory that statement a bit. One of the things going
around is this list. This list was made, apparently, by someone who surveyed an audience or class (I don't feel like double checking) about what men and women do to prevent sexual assault. Out of the 34 items listed for women only 4 of those I wouldn't have told my daughter or son to do just out of safety precautions to avoid being robbed. For women, rape is ALWAYS a threat. That is not even arguable. However, this list is tainted. Like I said, I have told my kids most of those just for being strong and being situationally aware. What would the man's list look like if the question didn't say "sexual" and simply said "assault"? Think a lot of those same things would be on the list? But I digress, let me shed light on what I, as a father, gave my son:
1. Never mess with a girl who has had more than one drink. DO NOT have sex with her if you aren't already dating. (Even then it's best to just say no.)
2. If she has passed out. make sure she is safe and sleep in another room.
3. If you are drunk don't do it. Period.
4. If she jokingly says no or puts up resistance (which women do a lot from my experience), STOP. It isn't worth it.
5. Go out in groups if it's a club thing or a drinking thing.
*6. Don't make the first move.
7. If she is all over you at the party, club, etc. get her number and call her at another time. It can wait.
8. Always text after you have had sex. (That way you have a record of consensual sex.)
I could go on but you get the point. Men don't usually have to worry about being raped but they do have to worry about being accused of rape or assault. It happens. It is part of, as we keep seeing, the Rape Culture. Now I put an * on #6 to tell a brief story. I met my wife at a club here in Washington back in 2003. She was a friend of a friend that happened to be there that night. After about an hour in the club Keziah (my wife) and I started dancing. We danced together all night. This was a hip hop club so we were getting "close" as one would imagine. I held her long curly hair as we bumped and grinded to all the good Christian music playing in the club. (By the way, that is sarcasm on the music.) After about 3 hours of dancing, we were standing next to a rail and I was looking at her. She flirtingly asked what I was thinking. My response was, "If I am going to kiss you are not." She said she was curious to the decision I was going to make. About 20 minutes later she said, "I thought you were going to kiss me." Which of course I did. Why am I telling you about this? Because there was a reason I did that and I have done it forever. I needed her consent before I would do anything. Yes, I was raised with women who said they want a man who can take charge, take he wants, be strong and dominating, etc., etc., etc. Yet, when it comes to it, I fear the word "rape" so much that I had to go around the way to do it. I know some people are reading this thinking that isn't anything but let's be real. If I had "asked" to kiss her I would have, in many cases, lost her because I lacked the confidence that women (in general) find so sexy. As a man, I have to navigate with what is too forward and what is not enough. Which brings me to the last point of this ramble.
I am a man. I am a sexual man. I look at women and damn sure see sexy, see tits and asses, see eyes and lips, see fuckable (don't mean to offend but it is my truth), see intelligent, see exotic and so on, and so on. There is a reason I don't list intelligent early on in that list. It is the thing we seem to be forgetting as a society. I see what women want me to focus on plain and simple. What do I mean? This weekend here in Port Orchard was homecoming. My Facebook was flooded with pictures of sons and daughters in their amazing prom outfits. The boys were dressed in their suits to match what some would call dresses by the girls. I saw nearly hip-high slits on dresses, backless, low-cut nearly breast exposing, curve-showing sexiness. Bodies and sexuality on full display. That is what we "boys" see. We see tits, we see asses, we see sexuality, and we see conquest. And we see it because we were taught to see it. Not by our fathers but by our women. I know this is a touchy subject but truth is truth. Men covet the woman's body and women want it coveted by, and this is the most important, those she deems worthy. Does that give a man the right to grope, grab, fondle and force himself on her? FUCK NO. That is a simple answer.
We all know, however, that we put out "signals" to people we are attracted to. We lean forward with our low cut shirts. We wear pants that show off our curves that he/she likes to look at. We do the things for attention and then condemn for the attention. We have to acknowledge that is part of the "culture," not rape culture, just culture, and it is both hypocritical and confusing for both men and women. If we don't acknowledge that we (both men and women) are sexualized beings then we can't dare understand how to stop some of this bullshit that is happening. No woman (or man) should be taken without her (or his) consent. Period. Rape is wrong. Rapists should go jail. The victims should get justice. No, they HAVE TO HAVE justice. We also need to make sure that the accused are ACTUALLY guilty.
I am going leave with this since I do not know what it is like to be raped. I do know what it is like to be sexually assaulted. In fact, ladies, this may come as a shock: most good looking men know it all too well. I have been fortunate to have been considered, for most of my life, handsome to downright sexy. I am not sure if I have ever made it to 10 status for anyone, but I do know I have always been in the upper portion of the good-looking scale in one way or another. Let me list a few things that women have done to me in public WITHOUT my consent:
1. Stroked my arms and shoulders. "You have great arms and shoulders."
2. Grabbed my butt. "Mmmm, this is such a nice ass. hehe."
3. Traced my lips. "You have heart shape lips. Mmm they are sexy."
4. Grabbed me by the head while hugging me or sitting on me or some shit like that. "I could just do bad things to you."
5. Reached in pants and grabbed my dick. "I just wanted to see what you were working with."
6. Pulled it out (while being surrounded by the whole bridal party).
7. Kissed me.
8. Grabbed me.
9. Pulled into their circles.
...and so on and so on and so on.
I challenge you to ask your good looking guy friends who go out if they have been whistled at, cat-called, groped, fondled, solicited and all the other things that ladies are currently calling us horrible about. They will tell you, in a lot cases, they have had a lot of them done. See, it isn't just a man thing. It's a person thing. We all have a problem.
I am not rapist. I don't condone letting rapists off for any reason. I do not condone ruining someone's life over an allegation either. I do not condone being hated on because of my ability to turn everything sexual. I do not condone turning everything sexual to people who do not condone such acts. Respect is respect. Rape is WRONG. How do we fix it? If we want to be better, then we need fix the laws that let rapists walk AND the laws that let false allegations go unpunished. Too many men are in jail for rapes that did not occur. Yes, too many rapists are free for rapes that did occur. Ladies (and men) need to start reporting these rapes. If only 6 out 1000 rapes are reported, then it is an epidemic because the victims don't stand up. We can fix that without some hashtag shit that goes away in a few weeks. Here is how I can do my part:
My declaration: If you are my friend and you have been assaulted and are afraid to go forward, I will stand with you. I will go to the police with you and help you file a report. I will listen to you and I will support your strength if you need me.
WE stop rapists by putting them in jail. Saying stuff like "it doesnt work" and "I don't trust the police" isn't a reason not to speak up. Don't wait until someone puts a challenge out there to say your peace. Stand up because it's right. You owe it to yourself. To us. Rape culture goes away when we decide to say "no more." Not by calling me a rapist.
Just a thought.